YSP Frequently Asked Questions

Applications and Admissions: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I Apply?

All prospective students must submit an online application to the Young Scholars Program at www.osu.embark.com. If an interested student does not have access to, or cannot submit an online application, they should contact the City Program Coordinator for a paper application. Space is limited and the process is competitive.

Is the Young Scholars Program (YSP) Scholarship a full-ride?

The YSP scholarship is not a full-ride scholarship. The YSP scholarship is a need-based award meaning that the amount of the scholarship is determined by the family's financial unmet need after federal and state aid has been awarded. Since families have different levels of financial need, the amount of the scholarship will vary from student to student. The Young Scholars Program will host financial aid workshops in your cities to help explain how the scholarship works, and how the scholarship will contribute to your student's cost of attending The Ohio State University.

What qualifies as first-generation?

First-generation is defined as any student whose parents (biological or adoptive) have not attained a bachelor's degree from any institution of higher education. The education of siblings, aunts, and uncles, etc. is not considered. If the prospective student does not reside with his or her biological or adoptive parents at the time of application, then the parent's education will not be considered. An associate or vocational/technical degree does not disqualify you from being eligible for the Young Scholars Program.

If one of my parents receives a bachelor’s degree before I graduate from high school, will I still qualify for the scholarship?

Yes, prospective students must be first-generation at the time of application to the Young Scholars Program. Students will not be dismissed from the program because one or both parents receive a bachelor's degree during the student's participation in the precollege portion of the program.

What if I'm in foster care, a ward of the state, homeless, or live with my grandparents or another relative? Do I still qualify to apply?

Yes, documentation (e.g. court documents, written statements from your social worker, or a written statement from your counselor) should be submitted to verify the student's circumstance and eligibility. In January of the student's senior year of high school, completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be required to determine a student's financial need for college. At this time, the student's independent status must be verified again.

Why do I have to give you my financial information to apply for the Young Scholars Program? What if I refuse?

Program participants must meet the income guidelines established by the Young Scholars Program. Submission of documents verifying income is required to establish eligibility for program participation. Refusing to provide financial information and documentation will result in a student's ineligibility for the program. The 2021 YSP Family Income Guidelines are provided below:


Household size / Annual income from all sources

1 / $21,084

2 / $28,616

3 / $36,148

4 / $43,680

5 / $51,212

6 / $58,744

7 / $66,276

8 / $73,808

For families/households with more than eight persons, please add $5,380 for each additional person.

What if I’m not a US citizen but I want to apply to the program?

Students are not required to be US citizens or permanent residents at the time of application to the program. In the case that a student is accepted into YSP, they must be a US citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen by the time of application to The Ohio State University at the start of their senior year of high school.

  • You must select the option that indicates your citizenship status. Select a U.S. citizen if you are a U.S. citizen or a U.S. national. Select Eligible noncitizen if you are:
    • A U.S. permanent resident, with a Permanent Resident Card (I-551), or a conditional permanent resident with a Conditional Green Card (I-551C)
    • Other eligible noncitizens with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any one of the following designations: “Refugee,” “Asylum Granted,” “Parolee” (I-94 confirms that you were paroled for a minimum of one year and status has not expired), T-Visa holder (T-1, T-2, T-3, etc.), or “Cuban-Haitian Entrant”
    • The holder of a valid certification or eligibility letter from the Department of Health and Human Services showing a designation of “Victim of human trafficking”
    • A resident of the Republic of Palau (PW), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (MH), or the Federated States of Micronesia (FM)
    • A Canadian-born Native American under terms of the Jay Treaty
    • Select “Neither citizen nor eligible noncitizen” if you are in the U.S. and have:
    • Been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
    • A F1 or F2 student visa
    • A J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa
    • A G series visa (pertaining to international organizations)

Other categories not included under U.S. citizen and eligible noncitizen

What are the requirements to maintain eligibility for the scholarship?

Once accepted into the Young Scholars Program, scholars must meet the following criteria:

  • Attend and actively participate in monthly college readiness workshops
  • Attend and participate in group and one-on-one college advising meetings twice per month
  • Have a strong desire and motivation to enroll in and graduate from a 4-year college or university.
  • Maintain a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.3 or above (minimum B+/ A- average).
  • Have a good school attendance record.
  • Commit to the successful completion of a college-prep curriculum in high school that includes 4-5 units of Math, 4 units of English, 4 units of Science, 3 units of Social Studies, 2-3 units of the same foreign language, 1 unit of an elective as well as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and/ or honors and advanced courses with a GPA 3.3 or above
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) in January of your senior year.
  • Take the ACT during their junior year of high school.
  • Participate in Summer Programs and campus visits.
Are the program requirements only limited to the academic year?

No. The Young Scholars Program requires participation in one-day and short-term, residential programs for pre-college students each summer. This includes Program Orientation, the Freshman Foundation Program, Social Justice Retreat, A Day in the Life of a Scholar, Summer Institute (after freshman year), YSP ASPIRE (after sophomore year) Samuel DuBois Cook Summer Academy (after junior year), and the YSP Early Arrival Program (after high school graduation).

What happens if I change schools or attend a high school outside of the nine eligible YSP school districts?

Students are considered for the Young Scholars Program based on enrollment at a public middle in one of the participating YSP cities attended at the time of admission to the program. A change in high school will not remove a student from the program. Students may remain active in the Young Scholars Program as long as they remain Ohio residents, and continue to attend all required workshops and activities.

Do I have to be nominated to apply to become a Scholar?

Students and parents interested in applying to YSP must submit a completed application packet by the deadline. Essays must be written by the student. No nomination is required.

If I qualify for free or reduced lunch, do I automatically qualify for the Young Scholars Scholarship?

No, the income guidelines to qualify for free and reduced lunch and the Young Scholars Program are not the same. See the YSP income guidelines for program eligibility.

What else do I have to pay for?

There are no costs to students and parents participating in the pre-college portion of YSP. However, students and their families should plan to contribute financially to the student's college education and should be saving money. How much families need to contribute will be based on the family's financial situation at the time of application to Ohio State. YSP will host Ohio State, Financial Aid workshops to help families understand financial aid and college costs. At this time scholars will learn about the YSP scholarship, anticipated educational expenses, and available financial aid.

Do you have to attend Ohio State, Columbus campus to receive the Young Scholars scholarship?

Yes, students receiving YSP funding must be admitted to and attend Ohio State-Columbus campus to receive the scholarship.

How long will I receive the scholarship?

Students awarded will receive the scholarship for 8 semesters (typically 4 years). Once enrolled at Ohio State, students must meet the cumulative GPA requirement, continue to file the FAFSA by the priority deadline, and submit verification (if selected) by their deadline. Students will also need to meet satisfactory academic progress toward their degree.

When I go to college, what is included in the Young Scholars scholarship?

The Young Scholars Scholarship amount may vary from student to student based on information received in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The scholarship is part of the student's financial aid package, which includes federal and state grants and work-study. The financial aid package usually covers tuition, fees, room and board (housing and meals), and in some cases, books and other education-related costs. This will vary based on a family's financial situation at the time of the scholar's high school graduation.

If I’m accepted to Young Scholars Program, do I receive automatic admission to Ohio State?

No. You must complete all high school college prep requirements with the required GPA, take the ACT or SAT with scores sent directly to Ohio State, meet Ohio State undergraduate admission requirements, submit a complete and on-time application to Ohio State, and follow all other procedures necessary to gain admission.

What happens if I’m not accepted to Ohio State or I’m accepted to a regional campus?

The YSP Scholarship is offered only to students accepted to the Ohio State Columbus campus. Students not accepted to the Columbus campus may be considered for financial aid but will not be awarded the YSP Scholarship.

Can I lose my scholarship?

Yes. All scholars are expected to attend and actively participate in meetings, workshops, and summer programs and meet all program requirements. Students who do not meet program requirements in high school or college will be placed on probationary status and are in jeopardy of not receiving their scholarship.